Poetry Happening Near You

The teacher's song

The teacher’s song

The classroom where you teach is just a room:
it has four walls, a ceiling and a floor;
the colour scheme is bland; the furniture
is functional. This room does not inspire.

And yet. And yet. Inside this room there is
a door. You will not see it with your eyes,
you cannot touch its frame, or turn its handle,
for it is of the mind. Unopened. Locked.

No ordinary key unlocks this quite
extraordinary door, it takes a special one:
a key of words, of thoughts, of wisdom’s reach;
an incantation woven by a teacher.

Unlock this door, and then invite your children
to push it open for themselves, and walk
into the world that waits for them: a world
of knowledge, and all the freedom knowledge brings.

Fergus McGonigal

Fergus McGonigal

About this poem

Every two years, Poetry on Loan commissions about 20 poets to write poems on a given theme - this time the theme was Onwards, upwards, freedom. The poets are encouraged to interpret the theme freely. Six or eight poems are selected to be used for our specially-designed poetry postcards.

This year the quality of the commissioned poems was exceptionally high, and choosing the final eight was very difficult. We will be using some of the ones that didn't quite make it on our front page. This one is by Fergus McGonigal, who has worked for Poetry on Loan in many libraries; one of his earlier poems was chosed for our Home-made, home-grown postcards. Fergus used to be a teacher!